The booming satellite industry has been a boon to Morpheus Space, which produces a modular, electrical propulsion system for small satellites.
Morpheus has has raised a Series A of $28 million, with which it plans to build a factory in Dresden, Germany, where it is located, and increase its workforce. That will enable the company to ramp up production of its propulsion systems to meet the exponentially growing demand in the smallsat market; since 2019, the number of small satellite launches has increased by almost 450%.
In 2020, Morpheus launched its Nano Field Effect Electric Propulsion (NanoFEEP) thruster, which it claims is the “smallest and most efficient electric propulsion system in space” in the world.
Because the system is modular, NanoFEEP thrusters can be combined to create more powerful propulsion systems that meet the needs of a specific satellite. For example, a cluster of seven NanoFEEP thrusters is called a MultiFEEP and multiple MultiFEEP thrusters can be added to maneuver larger vessels. This eliminates the need for customers to spend additional time and resources developing custom propulsion systems for each of their satellites.
Since the launch of NanoFEEP, Morpheus has won clients such as Spire Global, Antaris Space and Rocket Factory Augsburg, with many more to come.
“Over the past year, our number of contracts has increased by 250% and is on track to grow further,” said István Lőrincz, president of Morpheus, who also spoke on the topic at last year’s TC Sessions: Space. “The new factory will help us meet the needs of our growing user base. As an example, we are going to show that the NewSpace industry needs to implement scalable business and manufacturing solutions as quickly as possible to meet the expected projections.”
Morpheus has already shown his agility in two short years. “A major improvement we recently made to our hardware came in the form of a new propellant that has improved the performance of our propulsion systems. It is non-toxic and non-corrosive with no transportation or handling restrictions,” Lőrincz said, noting that the former fuel used gallium.
The company has also developed the Sphere ecosystem, an all-in-one package that Morpheus claims sets it apart from its competitors. “We provide a cross-platform AI for their satellite navigation, an application that helps plan the entire customer journey from design to satellite operations, mission design software for constellations and our world-class propulsion equipment,” said Lőrincz.
The funding round was led by Alpine Space Ventures, with participation from Vsquared Ventures, Lavrock Ventures, Airbus Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Pallas Ventures and Techstars Ventures. With thousands of satellites to be launched in the coming years, Morpheus has many more potential customers (and investors) to pursue with its system.